It is a new season with some new players for the Chicago Fire, but Saturday's game in Columbus still started with a very familiar feel.
The first half was reminiscent of many of the Fire's road matches in 2016. Fall behind early, struggle to keep possession, struggle to get shots on target. The Fire had two shots in the first half, none were on goal.
The second half, though, was a different story and the Fire were able to leave Ohio with a 1-1 draw thanks to a David Accam goal in the 73rd minute.
Columbus got things started early with a great chance in the third minute. A Justin Meram shot from point blank range was hit right at Jorge Bava, who was in position for the save.
The Crew would later take the lead in the 17th minute though. Ethan Finlay headed in a Justin Meram cross to make it 1-0.
In the second half the Fire had some extended periods of possession and had 10 shots, three on target. The Fire, which had 44 percent of the possession in the first half and just over 46 percent in the second half, were able to get on the ball a bit more and put more pressure on Columbus.
That was rewarded when Dax McCarty intercepted a ball just past the halfway line to start an attack. He fed John Goossens, who gave David Accam the ball in the box, allowing him to work his magic. Accam put some moves on fellow Ghanaian Jonathan Mensah to set up his right foot and put a low curled shot out of reach from Crew goalkeeper Zack Steffen.
"I think the main (halftime) message they gave us was believe in ourselves," Accam said in the postmatch interview on the CSN Chicago broadcast. "I know we have a very strong forward lineup and for us we needed one chance."
Both teams had chances in the final 15 minutes as the game opened up down the stretch, but neither could convert. The Fire also had a draw in the first road match of 2016, a 1-1 result in Orlando with another Accam goal, but finished with just one win and one more draw in the remaining 16 road matches.
With midfielder Juninho suspended and his likely replacement Matt Polster still injured, Goossens played in central midfield along with McCarty. Goossens subbed off in the final minute of the match after going down with what appeared to be an ankle or knee injury. In his place was second-year homegrown Drew Conner, who made his brief MLS debut.
The Fire's home opener is next Saturday against Real Salt Lake.